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Diabetes is an illness where a person has high blood glucose (blood sugar) levels because your body does not produce enough insulin or does not respond to insulin. Diabetes is a live long illness that one has to deal with. Certain types of diabetes are hereditary and cannot be prevented, but other types like Type 2, can be prevented, and should be prevented. For Type 1 diabetes, there is not much that can be done in terms of preventative care, but you want to make sure that you take care of and manage your illness.

If not managed correctly, diabetes can lead to serious complications. Insulin is a hormone. It makes our body's cells absorb glucose from the blood. The glucose is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen and stops the body from using fat as a source of energy. When there is very little insulin in the blood, or none at all, glucose is not taken up by most body cells. When this happens our body uses fat as a source of energy. Insulin is also a control signal to other body systems, such as amino acid uptake by body cells. Insulin is not identical in all animals - their levels of strength vary.

The pancreas is part of the digestive system. It is located high up in your abdomen and lies across your body where the ribs meet at the bottom. It is shaped like a leaf and is about six inches long. The wide end is called the head while the narrower end is called the tail, the mid-part is called the body. The pancreas has two principal functions: it produces pancreatic digestive juices and it produces insulin and other digestive hormones.

The endocrine pancreas is the part of the pancreas that produces insulin and other hormones. The exocrine pancreas is the part of the pancreas that produces digestive juices. Insulin is produced in the pancreas. When protein is ingested insulin is released. Insulin is also released when glucose is present in the blood. After eating carbohydrates, blood glucose levels rise. Insulin makes it possible for glucose to enter our body's cells - without glucose in our cells they would not be able to function. Without insulin the glucose cannot enter our cells.

Before insulin was discovered in 1921 Diabetes Type 1 was a fatal disease - most patients would die within a few years of onset. Things have changed a great deal since then. However, with many advances in sciences, and medicine if you have Type 1 and follow a healthy eating plan, do adequate exercise, and take insulin, you can lead a normal life. The quantity of insulin intake must be closely linked to how much food you consume, as well as when you eat. Your daily activities will also have a bearing on when and how much insulin you take.

A person with diabetes has to have his/her blood glucose levels checked periodically. There is a blood test called the A1C which tells you what your average blood glucose levels were over a two-to-three month period. Type 2 patients need to eat healthily, be physically active, and test their blood glucose. They may also need to take oral medication, and/or insulin to control blood glucose levels.

As the risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for a diabetic, it is crucial that blood pressure and cholesterol levels are monitored regularly. Healthy eating, doing exercise, keeping your weight down will all contribute towards good cardiovascular health - some patients will need oral medication for this.

When you want to test for glucose with a glucose meter you need to place a small sample of your blood on a test strip. Your skin is pricked with a lancet - like a very fast pin-prick. These test strips are disposable. You then place the strip in the monitor. The strips are coated with glucose dehydrogenase or hexokinase that combines with glucose in blood. The blood is usually taken from a finger, but some meters allow the use of other parts of the body to supply the blood sample. The meter tells you how much glucose is present in your blood. How meters do this may differ with each devise. With some meters a measurement of the amount of electricity that passes through your blood sample is measured, while others measure the degree of reflection of light. The glucose level is displayed as a number.

Many regulatory authorities, such as the FDA, require that meters and test strips come with instructions. It is important that you become familiar with these instructions, which should be included in the User Manual. Some meters give out an error code if something is wrong. Checking the User Manual will tell you what the error code means.

The main aim of diabetes management is to keep the following under control: blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. You will want to make sure that you see a doctor regularly, and that if something doesn’t feel right, you contact them right away. Even if you are managing your diabetes, it can still be unpredictable. If you let your diabetes get out of hand you can potentially risk living with complications the rest of your life, even the possibility of falling into a coma, or even death. This is serious so it is very important that you manage your diabetes, and stay healthy. Diabetes is something you may have to live with for the rest of your life, so make sure you get the facts, and know what it is that you are dealing with.